Announcing the Savage Minds Writing Group

It’s time to get writing. We invite any and all anthropologists working on any sort of writing project to join the new Savage Minds Writing Group. Starting Monday, January 20, the group will run for ten weeks, concluding on Friday, March 28. The objective of the group is to provide a community of support and accountability to help members achieve their weekly writing goals. Writing group participants will check in online here every Friday to report their weekly writing progress. Writing can be such a solo endeavor, so here’s to forging some collective energy and inspiration!

Toward the goal of inspiration, the writing group will be paired with a series of Writers’ Workshop blog posts every Monday. Our schedule of fantastic guest authors is:

Monday, January 27: Gina Athena Ulysse

Monday, February 3: Kirin Narayan

Monday, February 10: Sienna Craig

Monday, February 17: Bianca Williams

Monday, February 24: Kristen Ghodsee

Monday, March 3: Zoe Crossland

Monday, March 10: Robin Bernstein

Monday, March 17: Michael Ralph

Monday, March 24: Matt Sponheimer

Interested in participating in the writing group? Here are the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and Hows:

WHO: Anthropologists across all subdisciplines, stage of career, job status, in and out of the academy are welcome to join in.

WHAT: A ten-week writing group designed to provide community, support, and accountability. It does not matter what you are writing: a book, article, report, dissertation, qualifying exam, poetry, grant proposal, etc. Participants will check-in every Friday to report their writing accomplishments each week.  There is no requirement for participation beyond setting your own writing goals for the ten-week period, and then meeting (or trying to meet) and reporting on those goals. That is, this is not a reading and feedback group; we will not be circulating writing samples publicly for critique.

WHERE: Here, on the Savage Minds website.

WHEN: The writing group will officially launch on Monday, January 20 with weekly check-ins on Fridays, starting on January 24. We will go for ten weeks, concluding with the final check-in on Friday, March 28.

WHY: The impetus for this group comes from my own desire to establish a regular, daily writing practice. My personal goal for the ten-week period is to write for at least one hour every day (rather than only when I have a deadline, a day off from teaching, or during the summer, etc.). One of the most frequently repeated writing tips is to write every day. And yet, in talking with my colleagues and students, I find that it is difficult for many of us to consistently set aside daily writing time. Hence, this writing group. But, this is my goal. What are yours?

HOW: Want to participate? All you need to do is officially sign up for this ten-week commitment. In the comments section below, please write and post the following information: Name, Writing Project(s), Goals. Then, check-in with us every Friday.

I look forward to writing with you!

Carole McGranahan

I am an anthropologist and historian of Tibet, and a professor at the University of Colorado. I conduct research, write, lecture, and teach. At any given time, I am probably working on one of the following projects: Tibet, British empire, and the Pangdatsang family; the CIA as an ethnographic subject; contemporary US empire; the ongoing self-immolations in Tibet; the Chushi Gangdrug resistance army; refugee citizenship in the Tibetan diaspora (Canada, India, Nepal, USA); and, anthropology as theoretical storytelling.

78 thoughts on “Announcing the Savage Minds Writing Group

  1. Name: Manika

    Writing Project and Goals: I am simultaneously working on 2-3 writing assignments. In order of priority I wish to (a) Finish one of the chapter of my Thesis on Agrarian Change by 28th January.
    (b) Finish the first draft of the article by 31st January.
    (c) Conceptualize the framework of my research paper on agrarian change and be ready with the first draft by 10th February.
    (d)Rewrite some sections of Review Chapter of my Thesis by 20th February.

  2. Welcome everyone who has signed up for the writing group! I look forward to writing with you, and to learning about your work over the next ten weeks. Today is our official launch: /2014/01/20/anthropologists-ready-set-write/

    Be sure to not only check-in every Friday but also read what our guest authors have to share every Monday!

  3. Is it too late to sign up?
    Name: Jessica
    Projects: dissertation and article
    Goals: to write for the dissertation at least an hour 5 days/week; to polish and submit the article by the end of March

  4. Ann Armbrecht
    Project: Manuscript on spirit and healing in traditional herbal medicine
    Goals: write an hour every day, more on days I can; draft of manuscript more or less roughed out by end of March.

  5. Tess Kulstad
    Project: Convert 2 chapters from dissertation on Haiti-D.R. border into 2 articles
    Goals: Write for at least one hour a day. Articles must be done by end of 10 weeks.

  6. Jeff Baker.

    Project: An article about prehistoric settlement patterns in Oasis Valley, Nevada, and a book on Prehispanic Maya agriculture

    Goals: Complete the article on Oasis Valley, and complete a chapter on population estimates.

  7. Name: Leigh Miller
    Project: Completion of dissertation: a) further edit chapter two; b) formatted, proofread, final version; c) committee revisions as required in Feb-March.
    Goal: Edit daily
    (and Thanks, all!)

  8. Name: Ryan Anderson
    Project: Finish writing my dissertation!!
    Goal: Write consistently each day. No matter what. Finish current chapter I’m working on by the end of this month, and complete three more chapters by March 28.

  9. Name: Christine Schreyer
    Project: Finish a variety of journal articles (one resubmission, one revision of comments, two new submission, as well as finish editing a book chapter)
    Goal: Write something every week (hopefully twice a week at minimum)

  10. Hi Carole,

    I started this year with exactly the same goal, to set up a process to write a little bit everyday, I read a slim volume late last year on how to write a lot by writing everyday and the author recommended starting an agraphia group, exactly the kind that you have so serendipitously started. For the period this writing group will operate:

    Name: Sita Venkateswar
    Project (s): Complete a funding proposal with a mid-Feb deadline; complete an edited book proposal; start the first draft of a journal article that has a deadline for submission later in the year.
    Goal: To achieve writing something toward each of these projects everday, half-an-hour to one hour everyday and more on the days that I can.

  11. Name: Jenna Murray de Lopez
    Project: Methodology Chapter and conference paper
    Goal: To breakaway from the safety of reading about my method of sensory ethnography to write the first draft of an excellent methodology chapter for my thesis. Complete first draft of a 20min conference presentation summarising my methodology chapter. Write for 2-3 hours in my 3 study days.

  12. Name: Liz Lewis
    Writing Projects: I will use this writing group to dig into two main projects. First, I will revise/expand an AAA paper to submit as an article for publication. Second, I will begin work in earnest on an anthropology of disability blog that I’ve wanted to start for some time.
    Goals: Re-cultivate good daily writing habits and, at the end of the 10 weeks, have two finished products to show for my hard work. I would also like to revisit and also discover new writing resources and general sources of inspiration, ethnographic and otherwise.

  13. Name: Marissa Mika
    Writing Projects: Dissertation on Malignant States, Surviving Experiments: Cancer Care and Research in Uganda
    Writing Goals:
    Concrete Deadlines: 1970s chapter to my advisor by February 1st, 2000s chapter revisions completed by Feb 15th, 1950s and 1960s chapter completed by March 28th
    Broader goals: cultivate writing as a practice rather than as an obligation or a means to an end; read more excellent writing and consequently watch less excellent television and film; treat email as I would written correspondence and cordon off discrete sections of time to thoughtfully write and reply

  14. Signing up! I’m Ben Joffe. I have a preliminary paper to write for doctoral research, a personal project for publication on ‘Tibetan’ singing bowls and cultural appropriation, and one or two book reviews that I want to have done by the end of the semester!

  15. Name: Ellie McCutcheon
    Writing Projects: Blog Posts on Bicycle Ethnographies, Grant/Fellowship Proposals, Potential Grad School Applications, Other
    Goals: Maintain a regular writing practice in which I develop my anthropology-informed thoughts and navigate the ‘gap year’ (or two) between undergrad and graduate school, aka the time where I try to figure out how to exist in the non-academic world.

  16. Shelly Annette Biesel

    Working on my master’s thesis, articles for scholarly publications, scripts for upcoming presentations, and personal statements for job/phD program applications.

    I would like to have a very rough draft of my thesis by February 10th, followed by a revised, slightly cleaner version on March 5th. The March 5th draft will be the initial version that will go to my committee.
    By March 28th I would like to have a damn near perfect version of my thesis, an updated CV and resume, have parceled out chunks that could be turned into articles, and have completed 3 conference presentations.

  17. I’m signing up a little bit late, but here goes:
    Name: Kirsten Weis
    Projects: No specific project, but I would like to start a writing portfolio/literature review for my potential thesis topic on the microbiome and ecological conceptions of health/body boundaries.
    Goals: Write for 1-2 hours each day, 5 days a week. More than anything I’d just like to get into the habit of regular and consistent writing and editing

  18. This week I wrote over half of my first chapter draft on working women in Bangalore, which I will turn in next Thursday. It’s rough and will need a lot of editing, but I’m happy to have pages to edit!

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